Spring time in Baton Rouge can only mean one thing in my house: baseball season. We can practically smell the hot dogs in anticipation.
This time of year always creates a plethora of emotions among my family. Celebrations in the wins and heartbreaks in the losses. The all too-familiar rollercoaster of highs and lows eventually come to an end in late June, which leaves a few months to live in the triumph during the Spring. I previously dabbled in writing about my life as a coach’s daughter in my personal blog, It’s a Family Thing. It’s not just a game.
My dad is now in his 10th season at LSU. This is his “job” that relocated our family down south while I was attending college up north. Having grown up in the Midwest with a mother who was from the “Best Bank” and parents who identified previously as Tigers, we kids plowed through snow and freezing temperatures to bring king cakes to our schools in environments that had not a clue what Mardi Gras was about. Ironically enough now, my five-year-old gets a week off of school for the holiday, knows all about “throw me something mister!”, and dons a wardrobe that beams purple, green, and gold.
Even though I am still learning about Mardi Gras myself, THIS time of year brings about one thing I do know for certain. One thing that runs in my veins. One reason why I can now call Baton Rouge home. One thing my son gets to celebrate weekend after weekend. And that one thing is baseball season at Alex Box Stadium. And sharing it with my son is precious in all of its splendor.
This is my son’s 5th season “at the Box.” Another year he gets to walk through the dugout before each game and proudly bring a cup of Powerade back to his seat. Endless chances to lean over the railing to share that good luck hug with his “Papa,” the coach before each game begins. Many weeks his diet will consist of Dip-n-Dots, popcorn, and other concession stand delicacies. Another year that Mike the Tiger will become his best friend all over again. More chances to light up when watching the Tiger Girls shake their pom-poms (and hopefully, it will take many, many more seasons to understand what that lighting-up is all about.) Game after game, the ushers will sneak him tootsie pops and peppermints from their pockets. He will get to sit on Papa’s lap every Monday night during SEC play at TJ Ribs “taking notes” (his “job”) while Papa answers questions from call-ins. After each game, his little feet are the last to round the bases and head for home. Most nights will end in him falling asleep in his carseat on the way home from the field rocking a smeared and sticky face with his hand still inside the foam finger. It just doesn’t get any better for this little guy.
For my son, this time of year is beyond special. Seasons within the years of his life that become memories cherished forever. One year, it will come together for him as to why people constantly ask to take pictures with his Papa. But for now, he still asks, “Will Papa be there?” as we head to each game. Knowing that Papa will be there to receive that pre-game hug fulfills all his wishes and wants, win or loss.
It’s not just a game. It’s life. It’s love. It’s family. It’s baseball season in Baton Rouge.